Trump says 'carnage' in America 'stops right now.' How will that play out in Baltimore?

Trump: 'Carnage' in America 'stops right now.' SRB: 'Why didn't I think of that?'

In his inaugural address Friday, President Donald Trump described a nation in crisis by calling out family poverty, lost jobs, poor education and "the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential."

"This American carnage stops right here and stops right now," Trump said shortly after being sworn into office in Washington.

Meanwhile, a statement was posted on the White House website titled "Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community," which — mirroring a campaign slogan — said the Trump administration "will be a law and order administration."

"A Trump Administration will empower our law enforcement officers to do their jobs and keep our streets free of crime and violence," it said. "President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it."

Also: "Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter. Our job is to make life more comfortable for parents who want their kids to be able to walk the streets safely. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school."

The statement cited statistics showing a national increase in homicides in 2015 — which was driven in part by a huge spike in killings in Baltimore, where there were a per-capita record 344 homicides that year.

The violence barely declined in Baltimore in 2016, when there were 318 homicides, and has continued at a rapid pace this year.

The White House statement said it "is the first duty of government to keep the innocent safe, and President Donald Trump will fight for the safety of every American, and especially those Americans who have not known safe neighborhoods for a very long time."

The message was not received warmly by all.

Baltimore's former mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — who left office in December and is now a political contributor to ABC News — responded by suggesting, with a heavy dose of sarcasm, that Trump's message that violence would be halted immediately under his watch was naive.

"Brilliant, why didn't I think of that?" Rawlings-Blake wrote on Twitter. "Killings solved, poof."

How Trump's strong words on crime and law enforcement will translate into policy is unclear — particularly in Baltimore.

Just last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and Baltimore signed a consent decree that, if approved in court, would usher in sweeping reforms to the Baltimore Police Department that some law enforcement observers say will hamstring officers' ability to do their jobs.

Among other provisions, the agreement would require officers to get approval from their supervisors before making arrests on a range of minor offenses, from disorderly conduct to failure to obey an officer and gambling. It would also prevent officers from stopping and detaining people who are in the company of others suspected of a crime without being able to make a case that the person also has committed a crime or is about to.

The agreement came after the Justice Department investigated the police department after rioting erupted in Baltimore in 2015. The rioting had followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray from injuries suffered in police custody. The investigation determined the police department routinely used heavy-handed enforcement practices and excessive force, and routinely violated residents' constitutional rights.

Both the city and the Justice Department are due in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, where the consent decree was filed, on Tuesday to discuss the terms of the agreement with Judge James Bredar.

krector@baltsun.com

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